ONE FC returns to the 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Dec. 5 with a card that is developing into one of the strongest, which the Singapore-based promotion has put together this year.
Four more fights were added to ONE FC: Warrior’s Way on Monday including light heavyweight bouts involving leading title contenders James McSweeney and Jake Butler with the former taking on Roger Gracie and the latter rematching Sylvain Potard.
There will also be two top Filipino fighters looking to bounce back from recent defeats as former 145-pound champion Honorio Banario takes on up-and-coming contender Herbert Burns, and Kevin Belingon faces experienced Japanese bantamweight Koetsu Okazaki.
McSweeney (14-11) is in the best form of his MMA career and has finished his last three opponents in the opening round, registering knockout wins over both Chris Lokteff and Cristiano Kaminishi inside the ONE FC cage.
The English veteran will welcome promotional newcomer Gracie (6-2) to ONE FC with the highly decorated BJJ black belt coming out of retirement and looking to make an impression on the 205-pound division.
Butler (4-1) has been with ONE FC for his entire competitive career and has more wins for the promotion than any other light heavyweight, but will be looking to avenge the only loss of his career on Dec. 5.
Potard (7-4) scored the biggest win of his career when he stopped Butler in the second round at the Singapore Indoor Stadium just over a year ago with the end coming soon after the French southpaw stunned the former NCAA Division One wrestler with a straight left hand early in the second round.
Banario (8-4) was the inaugural ONE FC 145-pound champion, but is on a three-fight losing skid and urgently needs to get back to winning ways when he takes on a Brazilian who is rapidly establishing himself as the top contender in the division.
Burns (4-0) is a BJJ black belt and no-gi grappling world champion who has already beaten three top contenders in the division and will be looking to cement his status as a title contender with a win over a former champion.
Belingon (12-4) is entitled to be casting envious glances at former opponent Dae Hwan Kim, whose reward for beating him earlier this year is a shot at the reigning ONE FC 135-pound champion Bibiano Fernandes in the main event.
The fight against Kim was one that the Filipino could and probably should have won, but Belingon’s submission defense let him down and instead of challenging for the belt he finds himself facing a seasoned Japanese contender.
Okazaki (10-3-1) dropped a unanimous decision to Fernandes on his ONE FC debut in a five-round fight that had the interim 135-pound belt on the line, but bounced back with two straight stoppage wins and will be looking to extend his winning streak against the Filipino.
There are currently six fights on the ONE FC: Warrior’s Way card with UFC veteran Brandon Vera also set to take on Igor Subora in the co-main event. Fans around Asia can catch all the action live on FOX Sports 3, while the event will be available for purchase globally at just US$9.99 from www.onefc.com/livestream.
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